THE FBI has begun a new search in connection with one of America's most famous missing child cases, the disappearance of six-year-old Etan Patz in 1979.
Etan, the first missing child to appear on the side of a milk carton, vanished after leaving his family's apartment in Manhattan to catch a school bus. It was the first time his parents had let him go off to school alone.
He was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton and the case helped launch a national movement on the issue. It led to the day he disappeared, May 25, being declared "National Missing Child Day" by President Ronald Reagan. Etan was formally declared dead in 2001.
Thirty-three years after he vanished investigators have received information that his remains may be in a basement in a building only a block from where his family lived. It is on the route the boy would have taken to the bus stop.
The building used to house the basement workshop of a handyman who was known to the child. It was searched in 1979 but the floor was not dug up.
The basement now sits beneath a clothing shop.
Police said new building work would have to be removed to get to the area where forensic officers would look for blood, clothing or human remains.
There was never a prosecution over Etan's disappearance. Jose Antonio Ramos, a drifter who had been dating Etan's babysitter, was identified as a suspect but never charged..
Ramos, who denied killing the child, is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence for abusing a different eight-year-old boy and is due to be released later this year. He was not the handyman who used the basement police are investigating.